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Links that speak: The global language network and its association with global fame

Fri, 09 Jan 2015 21:07:37 GMT

People have long debated about the global influence of languages. The speculations that fuel this debate, however, rely on measures of language importance—such as income and population—that lack external validation as measures of a language’s global influence. Here we introduce a metric of a language’s global influence based on its position in the network connecting languages that are co-spoken. We show that the connectivity of a language in this network, after controlling for the number of speakers of a language and their income, remains a strong predictor of a language’s influence when validated against two independent measures of the cultural content produced by a language’s speakers.


Links that speak: The global language network and its association with global fame
Shahar Ronen, Bruno Gonçalves, Kevin Z. Hu, Alessandro Vespignani, Steven Pinker, and César A. Hidalgo

PNAS vol. 111 no. 52,  E5616–E5622, http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1410931111

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